One of the most project management skill sets successful project managers can have is interpersonal skills. Also, referred to as soft skills which are used to communicate and interact with other project stakeholders.
Successful Project Managers
There are no specific interpersonal skills used just for project management professionals or agile projects they are key project management skills that can be used in any project or day to day circumstance.
1. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
There are 4 quadrants are illustrated in the aligning diagram. For one to improve they first need to become self-aware and then self-manage before they can start helping others.
Communication includes both written via emails, letters, notifications to verbal via face to face, over the phone, video conferencing. A strong proactive communicator is a strong project manager. The secret to a proactive communicator is to understand expectations by creating a stakeholder engagement matrix.
Communication is a project managers essential skill. If you have poor communication skills you are on the back foot and will not be able to manage stakeholders expectations.
If you want to have excellent communication skills, you should create a stakeholder engagement matrix so so you can ensure you can be as proactive in your communication skills as possible. Below is a Stakeholder Engagement Matrix template you can use as a guideline:
Negotiating is all about achieving a win-win situation where both parties. Negotiations may happen within groups or individuals inside or outside an organisation. Scrumology article on Agile Contracts. This is also important in project management methodology as an effective communication technique.
4. Decision Making
Every effective project manager will need to make a number of decisions on a daily basis. From questions on the schedule, sequence, the budget they will be expected to provide guidance to the project team.
Collaboration is a joint effort of multiple individuals or workgroups to accomplish a task or project. Within an organisation, collaboration typically involves the ability of two or more people to view and contribute to documents or other content over a network.
6. Servant Leadership Career
Servant leadership skills is a time-tested concept that is both a leadership philosophy and set of leadership practices. The phrase “servant leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay that he first published in 1970. Firstly the word “leadership” is the science of leading a team and “servant leadership” is the philosophy and practice of helping a team thrive and hit its goals.
Greenleaf discusses the “need for a better approach to leadership, one that puts serving others — including employees, customers, and community — as the number one priority. Servant leadership emphasises increased service to others, a holistic approach to work, promoting a sense of community, and the sharing of power in decision making”.
Strong leadership skills of a servant leader would include awareness, listening, persuasion, empathy and coaching. In Scrum, a Scrum Master is a servant-leader. Typical Scrum Master tasks would include:
- Protector of the team,
- Ensure they are all well informed and trained in Scrum,
- Facilitates meetings and Scrum ceremonies,
- Makes sure team doesn’t over commit,
- Helps team reach goals
These tasks all require the same skills an effective leadership needs to be successful in helping a team reach its goals so we can confidently define a Scrum Master as a servant leader.
7. Adaptive Leadership
Agile adaptive leadership is key for an organisation to effectively be Agile. These three things are a responsive strategy, being and doing Agile. Yes, it is one thing “doing” Agile in an organisation but it is another “being” an Agile organisation.
8. Responsiveness to Business & Team
A project manager should be able to respond to the team’s needs and wants. This should not be mistaken in the PMP study guide for responsiveness in agile leadership of an organization.
9. Conflict Resolution
Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann developed five conflict resolution strategies that people use to handle conflict, including avoiding, defeating, compromising, accommodating, and collaborating. This is based on the assumption that people choose how cooperative and how assertive to be in a conflict.
10. Agile Technical Skills
A business should create an Agile business strategy which focuses on being responsive over efficient. This strategy should be focused on creating an IT Agility roadmap which is centred around the continuous delivery of software. An Agile organisation shouldn’t limit their process to Continuous Development or Integration but instead Continuous Delivery.
11. Agile an Essential Project Management Skill
Doing Agile requires a top-down understanding where senior management lead the way when it comes to Agility, from business strategy to specific principles and practices. An organisation shouldn’t just be Agile in one aspect of their business but all including the likes of portfolio management and operations. Agile leaders use the following execution levels to help them achieve business goals:
- Quality: Managing technical debt.
- Doing Less: Prioritise features that bring the most value to a customer.
- Engage/Inspire: Encourage and promote self-organizing teams.
Being Agile Project Management Professional
Being Agile requires managers to utilise Agile values and principles such as continuous delivery to create a highly responsive Agile organisation. Core principles companies should adopt to be Agile would be:
- Release Quickly: Releasing quickly gives a competitive advantage over companies who are trying to achieve perfection.
- Incremental Delivery: Incremental delivery gives the opportunity of gathering feedback and adapting to change.
- Deliver Value: The product does not need to be perfect but does need to deliver real value to the user.
- Coach the Agile Mindset: Coach employees in Agile so they can start thinking with Agile in mind.